So it's back on the road again heading for Westminster Abbey for a service of thanksgiving for the life of David Livingstone. The last two days have been busy meeting and greeting the Malawian Delegation including the President Dr Joyce Banda. They have made this special trip as a pilgrimage to remember the contribution that Livingstone made to the abolition of slavery.
Sunday saw a packed church at Blantyre the birthplace of Livingstone. I was encouraged by the singing and the interest shown. We need to not simply dwell on the past, but find ways to make real faith connections with the people and the church of Malawi today.
This focus on Livingstone gives us all an opportunity to talk about the call of God on all our lives. Each of us needs to reflect and ask "are we in the right place? Are we fulfilling what God has called us to do?" I like the phrase that Livingstone coined, "I'm prepared to go anywhere as long as it is forward." There is a great deal of sense in this sentiment. We cannot live in the past. We can only do what is right in the present.
Later today I'll share a reflection in the Abbey on the life of Livingstone. One thing I hope people will take from it is we can all make a difference. There is still much to be done. When you think about slavery we still have 28 million people enslaved around the world. This surely is a scandal that we must address.
Tomorrow I'm at he Foreign Office for a briefing about our forthcoming trip to Zambia. Then it's off to Downing Street for an Easter Reception. Thursday and I'm off to Canterbury for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Today the new Pope will be enthroned. I think his appointment may well refocus many Christians on our calling to serve the poor. One thing we who are materially rich need to bear in mind is that the materially poor have much to teach us: for human beings cannot live or exist on bread alone. We also need to encounter the presence of God. Often his presence is encountered when we find ourselves living among the poor. So perhaps Pope Francis is right when he calls for a "poor church for the poor." The paradox is, when we are poor it is then that we are rich.